Sunday, September 07, 2008

Double Bombing of Afghan Police Station Leaves Several Dead

Double Afghan suicide bombing leaves several dead

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) - - Two suicide bombers struck inside the police headquarters in Afghanistan's southern city of Kandahar Sunday, leaving dozens of people dead and wounded, officials said.

Authorities scrambled to assess the damage after the suicide bombings, with one senior local official saying eight people were dead, but the provincial police chief said there were only two bodies in the hospital.

The explosions could be heard across the city and the compound was immediately sealed off, although seven to eight ambulances were seen rushing out, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

"There were two suicide bombers who blew themselves up inside the police headquarters, one after another," said Ahmad Wali Karzai, head of Kandahar's provincial council and President Hamid Karzai's brother.

"So far, according to my information, eight people have been martyred and 23 others have been wounded," he said.

The police chief, Mutiullah Khan Qateh, said around 30 people were wounded. "There are two bodies in the hospital," he said.

The first bomber blew himself up outside the building and the second one detonated inside, Qateh said.

Another police officer, Abdul Waheed, said around 30 people were dead and wounded. Doctors in the city's main hospital said they had some dead bodies, although they could not say how many, as well as at least 18 wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the insurgent Taliban movement, which has its roots in Kandahar, has been behind a wave of suicide attacks in Afghanistan.

The Taliban used suicide bombers to blow open Kandahar jail in mid-June, allowing more than 1,000 prisoners -- including militants -- to escape.

Hours before the Kandahar blasts, a bomber on foot blew up himself up near a convoy of NATO-led troops, believed to be Italians, in the western city of Herat, police said.

"Only the attacker was killed and there were no casualties to civilians," Herat police spokesman Noor Khan Nikzad told AFP.

"He detonated near the Italian vehicles," he said.

However the Italian military in the city and International Security Assistance Force, under which about 2,500 Italian soldiers serve, did not immediately have information.

The blast damaged one of the vehicles in the convoy, Nikzad said, unable to comment about any possible casualties to the foreign soldiers.

A day earlier a Taliban suicide attacker dressed as a beggar killed six people, including two state attorneys, in a government building in the southwestern town of Zaranj, on the border with Iran.

The US-led coalition said meanwhile its soldiers working with Afghan troops had raided a militant compound in eastern Afghanistan late Saturday and killed more than 10 suspected rebels and arrested three.

The operation was targeted at a militant with the Taliban's radical Haqqani faction in Khost province, it said in a statement.

And Afghan police said 10 more militants were killed Saturday in fighting in the southern province of Helmand that erupted after Taliban attacked a police post.

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